Prodigal Son

I found my Senn HD650s the other day. I haven’t used them in years. They looked OK but the foam in the headband had disappeared and the ear pads were decidedly dog eared. It did seem a pity not to be using them so i decided to fix them up. Sourcing replacement parts was easy, and once re-padded, I tried them in the headphone socket of my iMac. They sounded OK, but way underpowered. A headphone amp was needed. Google is your friend.

It took a while for it to dawn on me that I was barking up the wrong tree; linking a headphone amp to my iMac was pointless. The headphone socket of the iMac is not hi-res and whilst I would be able to access Qobuz etc, I couldn’t work out how to access the music on my QNAP.

There had to be a solution, and there was; an incredibly obvious one. Sitting right next to me in my den, is my network hub for my main system. A year ago following sound advice from forum members, I linked a pair of Cisco 2960s with a fibre optic cable. So my search parameters changed. I needed to look for a headphone amp with a DAC that could be networked. Little did I know that the solution was lurking close to home.

On a headfi forum I followed a link to the Naim Uniti Atom Headphone Edition. The reviews were all very positive, including one reviewer who reported on the synergy with Senn HD650s.

I am pleased to find that this one box has all the features I am looking for: headphone amp, DAC, network connection, access to internet radio, Qobuz, my QNAP of course and via airplay, computer audio. I found that it is even a simple cable swap to change the HD650s to balanced mode. I have one on order. It should be here next week.

So, here I am, after a decade’s break from Naim, returning to the fold. I have high hopes for the Atom HE, but as they say, the proof of the pudding is in the eating.


Picked up the Atom HE this morning and its all set up and I’m having my first listen. Very pleased so far. I have Qobuz, my QNAP and computer audio. Naim even kindly give me Radio Paradise so all is good.
As expected its a bit thin at the moment, but being used to Naim boxes, I know that once it has a few hours under it’s belt there will be more to come.

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Two days playing in and it’s coming together nicely. I have a pair of Focal Clear MGs arriving tomorrow, so looking forward to that. I had forgotten how much Senn HD650 are hard to wear for long periods.

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